Because of the high quality of work submitted for the Denis Roussel Award, Jill Enfield, our juror choose four photographers to recive Photographer of Merit recogntion. One of those four is Curran Broderick. Today we are pleased to share his work.
Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a contemporary American artist and educator who specializes in nineteenth century photographic processes. My work has been shown nationally in several different spaces including, ClampArt, RISD Museum, Tilt Gallery, and Gallery Kayafas. I have held adjunct faculty positions at Rhode Island of School of Design and recently at Northeastern University. I am particularly interested in experimental and multidisciplinary processes that push the boundaries of photography.
Where did you get your photographic training?
The University of Vermont and Rhode Island School of Design
Who has had an influence on your creative process?
James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Viktor Scholvsky, Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Cornell, Kurt Schwitters, John Chamberlain, Ansel Adams, The Bechers, Irving Penn, Denis Roussel, and Anna Strickland.
Why do you create?
When I was in fifth grade, I made a pinhole camera and exposed paper negatives. Even though it was my first time doing photography, it instantly made sense to me. The feeling of watching the print literally appear in the developer still fills me with wonder. Its that feeling of discovery that keeps me excited.
The draw for me fluctuates depending on the type of work I’m doing. Picking up the Pieces is about the desire to transform trash into unique art works. I’m interested in material transformation of the common and worthless to the rare and precious.
Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
While I was in graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design, I attended a studio visit with master printer and eccentric genius Richard Benson. I remember him casually grabbing a print out of a closet and handing it to me. I looked down and realized that I was holding, Sewing Machine and 13 Objects, an original large scale platinum print by Irving Penn from the 70’s. The whole experience was beautifully surreal. The print was a masterpiece, a multiple coated platinum print on BFK developed in heated potassium oxalate. The subtle tones ranged from deep palladium blacks to soft glowing highlights. Penn had figured out a way to make even the humblest objects become rare, precious, and beautiful through a photographic process. That moment has always reminded me of the visual and emotional power photography can communicate.
What image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson?
Picking Up The Pieces as a series of work taught me the value of taking risks and not being afraid to experiment. Sometimes the work needs to go in a direction that is unconventional and not appealing. I learned that its okay to be uncomfortable and sometimes the best option is to lose control and step over the line of logic and reason.
What makes a good day for you creatively speaking?
For me, a good day is one spent darkroom printing. Brett Weston said in an interview years ago, printing is the ultimate moment of truth in photography. For me, printing is the creation; everything is revealed.
If you could spend a day with any other photographer or artist living or passed who would it be?
Hunter S. Thompson
What equipment have you found essential in the making of your work?
I have always been a “speak softly, carry a big camera” type of photographer, but I use whatever equipment I need to get the job done: digital, film, and or other. My typical outfit is a 4×5 Wisner Expedition with a Nikkor SW 90mm F8 and a Fujinon 250mm F 6.7. I use a customized Ries J-100. And, on occasion, when I am feeling really bold, I lug out my Gundlach 8×10 field camera.
Whats hangs on your walls?
My wife and I just bought a house in Vermont. We have been so busy that everything is still in boxes, so our walls are bare. Eventually, we will get to hanging our eclectic collection of print trades from friends from over the years.
What’s on the horizon?
I”ve recently joined the board of directors at the White River Craft Center in Randolph, Vermont. For the past several months, I have worked closely with the director of the craft center, Kevin Harty, to resurrect a community darkroom. The darkroom had most recently been used as a storage room; together we visualized a strategy to get people using it. I am now teaching a large format portrait photography class at the center.
Thank you Curran for sharing your work with us.
To learn more about the work of Curran Broderick please visit his site at Curran Broderick.